NE-10 SEMIFINAL: #1 Adelphi Shoots Past #2 Stonehill to Championship, 93-77

Senior Mary Louise Dixon scored 19 of her team-high 23 points in the first half and finished with her tenth career double-double tonight, adding a season-best 11 rebounds. (PHOTO BY Marcelo Cutti/Starlight Media)

Jackson leads Panthers to first NE-10 title game appearance with 36 points 

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (March 6, 2014) – Southwest Division top-seed Adelphi University shot over 51-percent from the field to claim a 93-77 victory over Northeast No. 2-seed Stonehill College in semifinal round action of the 2014 Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball tournament at the Center for Recreation and Sport tonight.

Adelphi (22-6, 14-6 NE-10), ranked third in this week's NCAA Division II East Regional rankings and among teams receiving votes in the USA TODAY Sports Division II poll, advances to the NE-10 Championship for the first time since joining the Conference in 2009 and will face Northeast top-seed and No. 1-ranked Bentley University (28-0, 21-0 NE-10) on Sunday in Waltham, Mass., at 1 p.m. Bentley advanced with a 75-59 victory over Northeast No. 3-seed Assumption College in tonight's other semifinal. Stonehill (18-9, 14-7 NE-10), ranked fourth in the regional rankings, awaits a likely at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year when the field is announced on Sunday via at 10:30 p.m.

Senior Sade Jackson (Hackensack, N.J./Aquinas) made a run at the NE-10 Tournament scoring record as she led Adelphi with 36 points (22 first half) on 13-for-15 shooting, including 1-for-3 from three-point range, while converting all nine free-throw attempts. The tournament record of 42 points is held by Jewel White of Franklin Pierce University in 2011. Jackson also totaled six rebounds, eight assists and four steals for the night.

Freshman Calli Balfour (Hopewell Junction, N.Y./John Jay) added 18 points for the Panthers on 8-of-11 shooting, a team-high nine rebounds, an assist and steal. Senior Jessica Kitrys (Parlin, N.J./Sayreville War Memorial) posted 11 points, six rebounds, two assists and three steals, while junior Jenna Halaby (Maspeth, N.Y./St. Francis Prep) rounded out the Panthers double-figure scorers with ten points on 4-of-9 shooting, five rebounds, four steals and three assists.

Senior Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) and junior Tori Faieta (Lynn, Mass./Saint Mary's) led Stonehill with double-double performances. Dixon scored 19 of her team-high 23 points in the first half to go with a season and game-high 11 rebounds for her third double-double of the season (tenth career), adding five assists and two steals. She finished shooting 6-of-14 from the field, including 3-for-6 from beyond the arc, while converting all eight free-throw attempts. Faieta posted her eighth double-double of the season (15th career) with 13 points and ten rebounds, adding three blocked shots and two assists.

Junior Tori Faieta added her eighth double-double of the year for the Skyhawks. (PHOTO BY Marcelo Cutti/Starlight Media)

Sophomore Shannon Brown (Las Vegas, Nev./Centennial) contributed nine points on 3-for-3 shooting, including two three-pointers, and converting her lone free-throw. Classmate Paige Marshall (Braintree, Mass./Braintree) chipped in with eight points on 4-of-5 shooting, four rebounds and two steals.

Adelphi shot 51.4-percent (37-for-72) from the field and converted all 16 free-throw attempts on the night. The Panthers turned 21 Stonehill turnovers into a 28-11 advantage in points off turnovers for the night. Stonehill finished shooting 43.3-percent (26-60) from the field overall and was held to 39.4% (13-33) in the second half while the Panthers shot 50% (19-38) to break open a seven point (47-40) halftime lead. The Skyhawks connected on 9-of-19 (47.4%) three-pointers, including 6-12 (50%) in the opening half, and shot 16-for-19 (84.2%) from the free-throw line. Stonehill also held a 38-33 rebounding edge and a 21-9 advantage in bench points.

Adelphi carried the seven point lead into halftime and opened the second half with a 9-2 run to open a 14 point (56-42) lead after a Balfour layup three minutes in. Junior Jamie Panton (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) pulled Stonehill back within 11 (58-42) with 16:23 to play, but the Panthers responded with five straight points, capped by a Jackson three point play to take a 16 point lead (63-47) with 15:47 remaining.

Brown scored a conventional three point play and added a three-pointer to pull Stonehill back within ten (63-53) with 15 minutes to go, but that would prove to be the closest the Skyhawks would get the rest of the way. Stonehill was still within 11 (69-58) after a Marshall layup with 12:32 to play, but Adelphi pushed the lead back to 16 (74-58) with a Kitrys jumper with 10:52 on the clock. Faieta drew the Skyhawks within 12 (74-62) with 9:13 remaining and then Adelphi sealed the win with a 10-2 run for a 20 point bulge (84-64) after a jumper by junior Kelly Mannix (Barrington, R.I./Barrington) with 4:55 remaining.

Stonehill scored five of the first seven points of the contest on a three-pointer from Faieta and a Marshall jumper, but Adelphi reeled off seven straight to take a 9-5 lead on a Jackson jumper three and a half minutes into the game. Stonehill scored the next five to regain the lead (10-9) after a Dixon triple and then after a Balfour layup got a Brown three for a two point edge (13-11) after seven minutes.

Adelphi used an 11-2 run to open a seven point lead (22-15) after a Halaby layup with ten minutes left. Stonehill followed with eight straight points, including four by Faieta, to reclaim the lead (23-22) 8:07 before halftime. The Panthers responded with a 14-2 run over the next four minutes to open a double-figure lead (36-25) on two Jackson free-throws with 4:19 remaining before settling for the seven point halftime cushion (47-40).

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